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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Sick leave and sick pay

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This is the time of year when a lot of people are getting colds and flus and may have to take time off work. Today we are going to look at what support is available if you find yourself in a situation where you have to take time off work due to illness.

Q. Can you clarify what rights to paid sick leave that employees have?

A: Until this year, 2023, you had no legal right to be paid while you were on sick leave from work, no matter how long you had worked for your employer. However, this has changed.

Since 1 January 2023, you have a right to 3 days’ sick pay a year. This is called statutory sick pay (that means the legal minimum). Sick pay is paid by your employer at 70% of your normal pay up to a maximum of €110 a day.

The entitlement to paid sick leave is being phased in over 4 years:

2023 - 3 days covered
2024 - 5 days covered
2025 - 7 days covered
2026 - 10 days covered

Sick days can be taken as consecutive days or non-consecutive days. The sick pay year is the calendar year, so it runs from 1 January to 31 December.

Q. Is every person who is in employment entitled to sick pay?

A: To qualify for statutory sick pay you must be an employee and have worked for your employer for at least 13 continuous weeks before you are sick – that’s about 3 months. You must also be certified by a GP as unable to work.

Q. Does this mean that the employee needs a medical cert to get sick pay?

Yes - under the sick leave legislation, you must be certified by a GP as unable to work to qualify for statutory sick pay. You should be certified from day 1 of your sick leave.

You have a right to SSP from the first day you are off sick. Your employer cannot apply ‘waiting days’ before you get sick pay.

Q. How is the sick pay calculated?

Your statutory sick leave payment must be paid at your normal daily rate. You are entitled to 70% of your normal gross pay, up to a maximum €110 a day.
 

Q. Some employers may already have a sick pay scheme – how does this new scheme impact on those situations?

A: Yes, some employers already pay sick leave and may already offer their employees more generous sick pay arrangements than the new statutory scheme. These would normally be outlined within your contract of employment. However, the important point to note is that any company's sick leave scheme can't be less than the statutory amount.

Q. What are my options if I experience problems getting sick pay?

A: If you do not get statutory sick pay, contact your employer to try to resolve the issue informally first.

If you cannot resolve the issue directly with your employer, you can make a formal complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC). Contact your local Citizens Information Centre for information on how to make a complaint to the WRC. You must make your complaint within 6 months of the dispute. The time limit can be extended for a further 6 months if there is reasonable cause for the delay.

Q. This new statutory sick pay scheme provides sick pay for a limited number of days e.g. 3 days in 2023. What happens if I am off sick for more than 3 days?

A: If you are off work sick for more than 3 days, and you have enough PRSI contributions, you can apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for a payment called Illness Benefit.

If you do not have enough PRSI contributions, you should contact the DSP’s representative at your local health centre. They will assess your situation and you may have entitlement to Supplementary Welfare Allowance which is means-tested.

Anyone needing information or advice can call a member of the local Citizens Information team in Kerry on 0818 07 7860, they will be happy to assist and make an appointment if necessary. The offices are staffed from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm. Alternatively you can email on tralee@citinfo.ie or log on to www.citizensinformation.ie for further information.

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Massive increase in numbers using local bus services

Passenger numbers on local link buses across Kerry have increased by 1727% from 2020 to 2023 according to local Green Party Candidate for Killarney Diarmaid Griffin. This is the highest […]

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Passenger numbers on local link buses across Kerry have increased by 1727% from 2020 to 2023 according to local Green Party Candidate for Killarney Diarmaid Griffin.

This is the highest increase nationally and is due to the investment by the Department of Transport during this government term.

“This service was lacking in former times, especially in rural areas and is a welcome addition to the countryside and villages of Kerry.’ says Green Party Candidate for Killarney,” said Griffin.

“While in the past, a taxi was the only option for those not cycling or driving. Now a service to Killarney is available every Friday morning from my townland of Barleymount. This is just one example of the network of bus routes criss-crossing the county thanks to local link.”

“This project is a notable success as the figures show. Investment in public transport helps alleviate congestion, increases community cohesion and reduces rural isolation. This is all welcome news for the locality,”

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Two weeks to go to Killarney Musical Society’s production of ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’There is less than two weeks to show time for the cast of Killarney Musical Society’s production of ‘Michael Collins A Musical Drama’

Killarney Musical Society held its official launch on Sunday where cast members appeared in full costume ahead of the March 5 – 7 performance at the INEC Arena. The launch was […]

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Killarney Musical Society held its official launch on Sunday where cast members appeared in full costume ahead of the March 5 – 7 performance at the INEC Arena.

The launch was followed by a full rehearsal and director Oliver Hurley was also there to lend a hand.

“We were delighted to introduce our lead characters to you. We had Abbey Theatre players Brigid Delia and Michael, who are the narrators throughout the musical drama. Eamonn De Valera , Harry Boland, Joe Emmett, Arthur Griffith, Cathal Brugha, volunteers and of course the beautiful Kitty Kieran were in full costume,” said KMS PRO Linda O’Donoghue.

“Mother Ireland and her five graceful dancers were fabulous. Our director and choreographer Oliver, our musical director Michael Young and the full cast of 64 were there. The singing was powerful. The music in ‘Michael Collins – A Musical Drama’ is distinctly Irish. People will definitely enjoy it.”

TICKETS
Get your tickets in the INEC box office, online at universe.com or at the pop-up ticket office in the Laurel’s Pub, Market Cross from 12 pm to 4 pm between February 29 and March 2.

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